Review: The Ring (1927)

Plowing through this Alfred Hitchcock box set has been a constant state of one step forward, two steps back!

Written By: Alfred Hitchcock
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

Coming off of The Lodger: A Story Of The London Fog the deck was immediately stacked against The Ring. I was able to appreciate certain elements of The Ring, mostly from a technical standpoint, but with that appreciation came a healthy dose of ho-drum mechanics. There isn’t much life to The Ring, hence the ho-drum mechanics of the enterprise. The film leans so heavily on its technical tricks that the story is by the numbers. Said story is so by the numbers that it becomes boring, and all the technical tricks in the world can’t make up for a story that is uninteresting.

The technical tricks Sir Hitchcock uses in The Ring are impressive and they speak to a director who is truly adapting to his artistic medium. There are shots of superimposition in The Ring, as well as moments where Sir Hitchcock plays around with frame rate, depth of field, and lighting. From a purely technical perspective The Ring is an interesting watch, but all the technical hoopla of the film felt very mechanical because of the story.

The mechanical nature of The Ring is thanks to a by the numbers story. It doesn’t get more straight forward than two men both loving a woman and literally fighting to decide which man she will choose. The Ring doesn’t do anything to spruce up such a basic story, and by the halfway point of the film there’s no doubt about what will happen, why it will happen, and where it will happen. If Sir Hitchcock became known as the master of suspense, The Ring is his attempt at making a movie with absolutely no suspense whatsoever.

There was one moment in The Ring that made me jump up and go, “whoah.” That moment takes place when a boxing promoter is telling Jack that if he beats the “nigger” he will get the fight he wants next. The word comes out of left field and it sent me for a loop. When it takes a throwaway word in an interstitial to grab my attention I think that’s a good sign that the movie in question just isn’t up to snuff. The Ring is a movie, it exists, Alfred Hitchcock wrote and directed it. There are moments of technical flare, and the story is as dull as dishwater. That’s as succinct of a breakdown of The Ring that I can give you. The Ring is lesser Sir Hitchcock, and it’s boring Sir Hitchcock. That is never a good thing, and that is why only completest’s of Sir Hitchcock’s work should concern themselves with The Ring.

Rating:

**1/2

Cheers,
Bill

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